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Answer set programming modulo theories

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Knowledge representation and reasoning is a prominent subject of study within the field of artificial intelligence that is concerned with the symbolic representation of knowledge in such a way to

Knowledge representation and reasoning is a prominent subject of study within the field of artificial intelligence that is concerned with the symbolic representation of knowledge in such a way to facilitate automated reasoning about this knowledge. Often in real-world domains, it is necessary to perform defeasible reasoning when representing default behaviors of systems. Answer Set Programming is a widely-used knowledge representation framework that is well-suited for such reasoning tasks and has been successfully applied to practical domains due to efficient computation through grounding--a process that replaces variables with variable-free terms--and propositional solvers similar to SAT solvers. However, some domains provide a challenge for grounding-based methods such as domains requiring reasoning about continuous time or resources.

To address these domains, there have been several proposals to achieve efficiency through loose integrations with efficient declarative solvers such as constraint solvers or satisfiability modulo theories solvers. While these approaches successfully avoid substantial grounding, due to the loose integration, they are not suitable for performing defeasible reasoning on functions. As a result, this expressive reasoning on functions must either be performed using predicates to simulate the functions or in a way that is not elaboration tolerant. Neither compromise is reasonable; the former suffers from the grounding bottleneck when domains are large as is often the case in real-world domains while the latter necessitates encodings to be non-trivially modified for elaborations.

This dissertation presents a novel framework called Answer Set Programming Modulo Theories (ASPMT) that is a tight integration of the stable model semantics and satisfiability modulo theories. This framework both supports defeasible reasoning about functions and alleviates the grounding bottleneck. Combining the strengths of Answer Set Programming and satisfiability modulo theories enables efficient continuous reasoning while still supporting rich reasoning features such as reasoning about defaults and reasoning in domains with incomplete knowledge. This framework is realized in two prototype implementations called MVSM and ASPMT2SMT, and the latter was recently incorporated into a non-monotonic spatial reasoning system. To define the semantics of this framework, we extend the first-order stable model semantics by Ferraris, Lee and Lifschitz to allow "intensional functions" and provide analyses of the theoretical properties of this new formalism and on the relationships between this and existing approaches.

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  • 2016